Dhal Sambar


dhal sambarDhal Sambar is a common dish in every Indian house. With reasonable amount of spices, it even became kids favorite when comes to meal time. In Malaysian plate, roti chanai/paratha goes very well with sambar. There are many versions of Dhal Sambar recipe all around the world. This recipe is my home version anyway :-)



Recipe serve for 6 – 8 people 

Ingredients :

  • 3/4 Cup Thoor dhal/malawi
  • 1/4 Cup Mysoor dhal
  • 1/2 Tablespoon kadugu thalipu (mix of mustard + fenugreek + fennel seeds)
  • 3pcs Dried chilies (cili kering)
  • 1 Onion (sliced)
  • 5 Shallots (bawang kecil)- cut into 2
  • 6 Cloves garlic – sliced
  • 1cm Ginger – sliced
  • 1 Stalk curry leaves
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of asafoetide powder (perungayam thool)
  • 1 Stalk of coriander leaves roots (use only the bottom part of the stalk)
  • 1 Medium size podalangai (snake gourd)
  • 1 Carrot medium size ( sliced/ cubed)
  • 1 Brinjal (eggplat) – (cubed)
  • 3 Large potatoes (cut 4 each)
  • 1 Large tomato (cut 8)
  • 2 Teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 Teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of roasted cumin powder (or 1 Teaspoon)
  • 1 Tablespoon tamarind ( dilute with 1/4 cup of water)
  • Salt to taste.
  • 1-2 Tablespoon thick coconut milk (optional)
  • Hot water – 300ml to 400ml

Let’s Cook the Sambar :

Sambar ingredientsSoak both types of dhal together for about 1 hour, then precooked it (with enough water). If using pressure cooker, then you may cook the dhal without soaking it. If you are cooking in normal stove, suggested to add the potatoes into the dhal (when the dhal is almost cooked) and continue cook them together (it will reduce the total cooking time). Peel off the skin of podalangai (snake gourd) then sliced it. I sliced it without peeling off the skin in this recipe. Mix with some salt and let it for about 5 minute. Then rinse off with clean water.


Heat about 2 tablespoon of cooking oil in a pot. First add kadugu talipu mix (mustard+fenugreek+fennel) and dried chili. It will sizzle a little. Add the asafoetida powder then fry it. Continue adding onions, garlic and ginger slices and curry leaves and coriander stalk. Sauteing them well for about 1-2 minutes or till the onion looks tender.



sambar vege sauteingAdd in podalangai (snake gourd). Stir well and leave it to cook for about 2 minute. Suggested : vegetable with bitter taste or with strong raw smell to be saute in the oil first. Example : white radish (lobak putih), ribbed gourd(petola), bottle gourd (labu air).




sambar veges

Start adding other cubed veges, carrots, brinjal (egg plant), potatoes. Add some salt. Mix them well. Cook in medium heat. Close the pot wit lid and cook the veges for 5 minutes. Since the potatoes have been precooked earlier, we can be pretty sure that all the veges have been cooked 70% at this stage.



add sambar paruppu spices

Add in the precooked dhal into the pot. Let it boil, then start adding other spices, turmeric + chili powder+roasted cumin powder. Let the spices cook for about 2 minutes. Then add in tamarind juice. Then add required hot/warm water 300ml- 400ml. Let the sambar boil well for 5-6 minutes. Add in the coconut milk. Stir all of them well and let it boil for further few minutes. Taste Check, add salt if required. Finally add in the sliced tomatoes into the sambar. Then off the flame.


My kitchen tips :

1)Precook the potatoes earlier, either cook together with dhal, or if you missed it, then cooked it separately with some boiling water, while you are preparing other cooking ingredients. Your total cooking duration can be reduced by doing so, as potatoes takes longer time to cook.

2) Prepare your own roasted cumin powder. The fragrance and flavor are much better than the ready made cumin powder.

3) Some of us don’t prefer to use coconut milk, as a option you may use instant milk powder, if available at home. Just mix 1 tablespoon of milk powder with little hot water, then add it in sambar.

4) I added the tomatoes at the end of cooking process, so that the red color of the tomato slices give some attractive look to the sambar. So it’s optional. You may add tomatoes while sauteing other veges as well.

5) Sambar, while it’s hot, it look little watery, but after it become warm, sometimes it will become thicker a bit. Just add in additional hot water, and reboil it again for 5 minutes. Then your sambar will have the right consistency.

thoor dhal sambar

My Home Sambar  is ready…….





homemade sambar

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